Subject: Elegance
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- AXIONET -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 20:15:16 -0400

Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET> wrote:

>It started me thinking about manuals, which can also display >elegance or inelegance.


You've brought up a subject that is extremely important to me. For
several years now, I've been using the term "elegance" in much the way
as you describe.

It's the cncept, I think, that Eric Gill was describing when he said
that you could tell something about the ethics of a culture by its pots
and pans. He was talking about design; to Gill, the highest level of
design was an absolute simplicity combined with an absolute
functionality. This level of design was the goal of his aesthetics, and
I think it could be applied to technical writing without any trouble

Clear, concise writing is certainly the major part of it. But it also
includes a layout that makes information easy to find and to read - a
design that enhances the text without calling attention to itself or
overwhelming the text.

I think that, if more technical-writers made elegance theri goal, the
standards of documentation would improve immensely.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
(604) 421-7189 or 687-2133
bbyfield -at- axionet or bruce -at- dataphile-ca -dot- com

"Nor did I know I was being auditioned
For the male lead in your drama,
Miming through the first easy movements
As if with eyes closed, feeling for the role."
-Ted Hughes, "Visit"

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